Release 724 of 1,082

Peering into the Heart of the Crab Nebula

Release date: Jun 1, 2000 1:00 AM (EDT)
Release type: Hubble Heritage

In the year 1054 A.D., Chinese astronomers were startled by the appearance of a new star, so bright that it was visible in broad daylight for several weeks. Today, the Crab Nebula is visible at the site of that bright star. Located about 6,500 light-years from Earth, the Crab Nebula is the remnant of a star that began its life with about 10 times the mass of our Sun. Its life ended on July 4, 1054 when it exploded as a supernova. In this image, the Hubble telescope has zoomed in on the center of the Crab to reveal its structure with unprecedented detail.